Oakland Athletics – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-08-22T14:49:00Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress TC Zencka <![CDATA[A’s Release Marco Estrada]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171810 2019-08-20T21:19:38Z 2019-08-20T21:19:38Z The Oakland Athletics released starting pitcher Marco Estrada today, the team announced.

The move doesn’t come as a total surprise, as Estrada has not pitched for Oakland since April 16th. It’s a disappointing turn nonetheless for the veteran Estrada. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser tweets that Estrada was simply unable to get healthy, which led to his release.

After his 5th and final start of the season on April 16th, the A’s placed Estrada on the injured list with a lumbar strain, but didn’t officially move him to the 60-day injured list until July. Since the end of July, Estrada made 5 starts between three levels of the minor leagues, but he just hasn’t gotten healthy enough to make his way back to the big league club.

Estrada seemed like a good fit for Oakland’s patchwork rotation when he signed a one-year, $4MM deal late in January. His five starts all resulted in Oakland losses, however, and he’ll finish his tenure with a 6.85 ERA/7.53 FIP.

Should this be the end of the line for the 36-year-old Estrada, he would finish 62-68 in 194 career stars and 89 relief appearances with a 4.29 ERA/4.45 FIP/4.59 xFIP totaling 12.3 rWAR/11.4 fWAR. A 12-year career that began in DC with the Nationals has included stops with the Brewers, Blue Jays, and now Athletics.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Outright Dustin Garneau]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171722 2019-08-20T02:28:09Z 2019-08-20T02:28:09Z The Athletics outrighted catcher Dustin Garneau to Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday after he cleared waivers, the team announced. Garneau has been outrighted in the past, meaning he could have turned down the assignment in favor of free agency. However, he’ll stay in the organization, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com tweets.

The well-traveled Garneau was a member of the A’s organization back in 2017, but he has spent just a couple weeks with the franchise this season. The A’s claimed Garneau off waivers from the division-rival Angels on Aug. 3, only to designate the 32-year-old for assignment last Friday when fellow catcher Josh Phegley returned from the injured list.

Garneau was plenty effective with Oakland before it booted him from its roster, hitting .294/.368/.588, though he posted those numbers over a mere 19 plate appearances. While Garneau previously slashed a playable .232/.346/.362 in 82 PA with the Halos, the lifetime .207/.290/.343 mark he has logged over 381 attempts since his MLB career began in 2015 with the Rockies pales in comparison. Garneau has been a respectable hitter at the Triple-A level, though, having batted .259/.334/498 and totaled 60 homers in 1,198 trips to the plate.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Athletics To Promote A.J. Puk]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171658 2019-08-19T17:05:45Z 2019-08-19T16:47:43Z The Athletics will promote left-hander A.J. Puk from Triple-A Las Vegas prior to tomorrow’s game, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports (via Twitter). Puk, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 draft, will need to have his contract formally selected. Oakland has an opening on its 40-man roster to accommodate him.

A.J. Puk | Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Puk, 24, is considered by virtually every major prospect outlet to be among the game’s top 50 prospects. He’s viewed as a potential key piece to the Athletics’ rotation down the road, but he’s been working primarily in relief this season as he works back from 2018 Tommy John surgery. The towering 6’7″ southpaw has a lackluster 4.97 ERA in 25 1/3 minor league innings this season, but he’s also punched out 38 hitters against 10 walks in that time.

Fangraphs currently rates Puk as baseball’s No. 21 prospect, putting a 65 grade on his fastball, a 60 on his slider and giving him the potential for two more average or better offerings in his changeup and curveball. MLB.com lists Puk 43rd among MLB prospects and dropped a 70 grade on his heater with a 65 on his slider. Puk, who paced all minor league starters with 13.2 K/9 in his last full season back in 2017, is touted as a potential No. 2 starter at the Major League level. He’ll likely get the opportunity to make good on those bullish forecasts in 2020, alongside the likes of Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas and perhaps fellow ballyhooed left-hander Jesus Luzardo, but for now he’ll step into Bob Melvin’s bullpen and look to help shut things down in the late innings.

Oakland has three left-handers in the ’pen at the moment, with Jake Diekman, Wei-Chung Wang and Ryan Buchter all giving Melvin southpaw options. All three of those southpaws have had issues with commanding the strike zone, though, and none can match Puk’s overall ceiling as a game-changing relief weapon. Taking a broader look, Oakland has seen closer Blake Treinen follow up a dominant 2018 campaign with a dismal 2019 showing. Fellow righty Lou Trivino has taken similar steps backward, leaving the A’s with a bullpen that’s been weaker than they anticipated.

By promoting Puk now, the A’s will be positioning themselves to control him through 2025 season, although future optional assignments to the minors could yet impact that timeline. If he’s in the big leagues from Tuesday through season’s end, he’ll accrue 41 days of big league service, though, meaning in order to push his path to free agency back until the 2026-27 offseason, the A’s would need to keep him in Triple-A for nearly two months next season. In other words, this appears quite likely to be a chance for Puk to cement himself as a big leaguer and leave the minor leagues behind. If he is indeed in the Majors for good, he wouldn’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2022 season.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Manaea Up To 91 Pitches In Latest Rehab Outing]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171651 2019-08-19T15:40:31Z 2019-08-19T15:40:31Z
  • Left-hander Sean Manaea threw 91 pitches and picked up a win in his latest start for the Athletics’ Triple-A club in Las Vegas. Manaea, on the mend from shoulder surgery, had his rehab assignment halted briefly this month due to some discomfort in his side but has now made a pair of outings since returning and looks to be largely stretched out. In his past three rehab appearances with the Aviators, Manaea has a 2.70 ERA and a 24-to-4 K/BB ratio in 16 2/3 innings of work. When and how he’ll be worked back into the rotation remains unclear, but the A’s will have to make a decision on that front relatively soon. The most logical candidate to lose a rotation spot would be veteran righty Homer Bailey, who is slated to take the mound tomorrow night when the Yankees visit the A’s. Each of Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson and Chris Bassitt have pitched well in 2019, and recently acquired righty Tanner Roark has a better track record than Bailey in recent years as well. Rosters are set to expand in September, which will give the A’s more flexibility with how they structure their pitching staff.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Poll: Who Will Be The AL’s Wild Card Teams?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171615 2019-08-19T00:53:31Z 2019-08-19T00:53:31Z The Twins hold a 2.5-game lead over the Indians in the AL Central after today’s action, and in addition to fighting for the division crown, both clubs are desperately trying to avoid facing even more competition in the AL wild card hunt.  Cleveland (74-51) is currently in possession of the top wild card spot, with the Rays (73-52) in the second slot, just a game behind.

    Despite taking three of four games from the Astros, the Athletics are still 7.5 games behind Houston in the AL West, leaving the wild card as Oakland’s most realistic shot at a postseason berth.  The A’s (71-53) are 1.5 games behind the Rays.

    Had this poll been posted even a couple of days ago, the Red Sox would likely have been omitted, yet a five-game winning streak merits them a mention.  Boston (67-59) is still 6.5 games behind Tampa Bay, and don’t have many head-to-head opportunities remaining against their division rivals, as the Sox and Rays only play four more times this season.  The Red Sox do have a three-game set against Minnesota on September 3-5 at Fenway Park.

    The Twins have six critical September games lined up against the Tribe, but beyond those two series, Minnesota has a clear advantage over Cleveland in terms of benefiting from their weak division.  Twenty-six of the Twins’ remaining 38 games are against the White Sox, Royals, and Tigers, while the Indians only face the AL Central’s lesser lights 16 times in their final 37 games.

    It all adds up to a wild final six weeks of action, particularly since injuries, roster shuffles, and players on both incredible hot streaks and cold streaks continue to change the narrative on a near-daily basis.  In particularly, all three non-AL Central teams face looming questions about their pitching staffs.  Can the A’s get their long-awaited influx of young pitching reinforcements once multiple arms return from the injured list?  Can the Rays get by three-fourths of their regular rotation (Blake Snell, Yonny Chirinos, Tyler Glasnow) still hurt?  Can the Red Sox mount a late-season comeback even as their own inconsistent rotation has suffered perhaps a critical blow?

    Which two teams do you think will emerge from the fray to play in the one-game Wild Card playoff in October?  (Poll link for app users)

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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Ramon Laureano To Begin Running]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171533 2019-08-18T15:11:39Z 2019-08-18T12:50:30Z
  • Athletics center fielder Ramón Laureano is making slow but steady progress from a stress reaction in his shin, he tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). Laureano plans to begin running next week in an effort to mount a late-season comeback. His July 31 injury was always expected to shelve him for at least a month, and there’s little indication his early-September target date to return has changed. The 25 year-old has quietly emerged as one of baseball’s better young players. In 595 MLB plate appearances since debuting last August, Laureano has coupled well above-average offense (a .285/.341/.506 slash, good for a 122 wRC+) with a flair for the dramatic on defense, even if he’s not always the most consistent at tracking down fly balls, per Statcast. His return would be welcome news to a club just a half game out of the league’s final postseason spot.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Designate Dustin Garneau, Activate Josh Phegley]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171380 2019-08-16T23:03:46Z 2019-08-16T21:10:47Z Change is afoot behind the dish for the Athletics. The club announced today that it has designated Dustin Garneau for assignment, clearing the way for the return of Josh Phegley from the injured list.

    Garneau, who recently turned 32, had a nice run in seven games with the A’s. But he was obviously seen mostly as a roster patch for the Oakland org, which is now going back to its preexisting arrangement. In parts of five seasons in the majors, Garneau carries a .207/.290/.343 batting line over 381 plate appearances.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Claim Beau Taylor]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171355 2019-08-16T18:51:27Z 2019-08-16T18:32:49Z The Blue Jays have claimed catcher Beau Taylor off waivers from the Athletics, per a club announcement. He’ll begin his tenure with the Toronto organization at Triple-A.

    Taylor was likely targeted to bolster the Jays’ catching depth. The team seems likely to continue utilizing Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire at the major-league level for the duration of the present season, barring injury.

    Though it’s possible Taylor could end up losing his 40-man roster spot at some point, he may also be retained and given a shot to compete in spring camp next year. The 29-year-old can still be optioned and has produced big offensive numbers this year at Triple-A, with a .257/.408/.461 batting line in 240 plate appearances.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Bailey's Spot In Rotation Not Secure]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171204 2019-08-15T13:14:30Z 2019-08-15T13:14:30Z
  • Last night’s gem from Homer Bailey — seven shutout innings of two-hit ball with one walk and seven strikeouts — was well-timed but doesn’t secure the veteran’s place in the Athletics’ rotation, writes Ben Ross of NBC Sports Bay Area. Bailey has pitched well in all of his home starts and last night’s road outing in San Francisco, but he’s also been torched in visits to Minute Maid Park (Astros) and Wrigley Field (Cubs). Each of Mike Fiers, Brett Anderson, Tanner Roark and Chris Bassitt appears locked into a rotation spot now, and the A’s will soon welcome back Sean Manaea from the injured list. A healthy Manaea would be Oakland’s best starter, leaving Bailey’s status somewhat unclear. The A’s also added Matt Harvey on a minor league contract last night, giving them another potential alternative to Bailey (depending, of course, on his performance in Triple-A Las Vegas).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On A’s Extension Possibilities]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171169 2019-08-15T06:40:08Z 2019-08-15T06:40:08Z With third baseman Matt Chapman and shortstop Marcus Semien, the left side of the Athletics’ infield is among the most productive in baseball. The fact that the two combine to make less than $6MM (almost all of which belongs to Semien) only adds to their appeal from the low-budget Athletics’ perspective. But their days of earning relatively meager salaries might not last for much longer. Both players are candidates for contract extensions, though Semien will reach free agency after next season if nothing comes together between him and Oakland in the meantime.

    To this point, the A’s haven’t handed out a longer or richer contract than the six-year, $66MM extension they signed third baseman Eric Chavez to entering the 2004 campaign. They now have a new standout at the hot corner in Chapman, a Scott Boras client who could eventually unseat Chavez as the recipient of the biggest deal in team history. It’s “believed” the Athletics are considering making Chapman an offer for longer than the one Chavez signed 15 years ago, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

    Fortunately for the Athletics, there’s no imminent danger of losing Chapman. The 26-year-old isn’t even slated to reach arbitration for the first time until after 2020, and once he does, he’ll still be controllable for three seasons. Nevertheless, though, the A’s may want to get out in front of the arbitration process with Chapman. After all, he has burst out as one of the most valuable players in the sport over the past couple seasons, combining defensive virtuosity with marvelous offense.

    Dating back to last year, his first full season in the majors, Chapman has slashed .267/.347/.506 (130 wRC+) with 51 home runs in 1,116 plate appearances. His 10.7 fWAR in that span ranks seventh among all position players, putting him just behind Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon – a pending free agent who could collect a payday in the $150MM range in the offseason.

    Considering the disparate points they’re at in their careers, Chapman obviously doesn’t have the earning power of Rendon. Depending on the length of the deal, though, Chapman could come within shouting distance of nine figures. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd posited last October that a seven-year, $80MM commitment might not have been out of reach on an extension, and that was before Chapman’s second straight overwhelmingly successful season.

    Semien, 29 next month, has joined Chapman in emerging as an integral Athletic in the past couple years. By FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric, Semien was a slightly below league-average offensive producer from 2013-18, but the former White Sox infielder has found another gear this season. He’s hitting .273/.359/.469 (122 wRC+) with 19 HRs through 551 trips to the plate. Between his improved offense and quality defense, Semien has accounted for a personal-best 4.6 fWAR thus far. He’ll absolutely earn a solid raise in arbitration during the winter, but perhaps the Athletics will lock him up before it comes to that. Having just switched representation last week, he told Slusser his goal is to stick with the A’s for the long haul.

    “That’s always been a big want for our family,” Semien said. “We’re extremely happy living here year round — that’s what anyone would want. And this team is such an amazing group to be around. Everyone talks about how bad the stadium is but when you have a group of guys you enjoy being around, that doesn’t matter.”

    Oakland previously tried to extend Semien at the beginning of the 2017 season, when he would’ve come much cheaper. But the club wasn’t willing to match the six-year, $25MM guarantee the White Sox awarded shortstop Tim Anderson around the same time, according to Slusser. No agreement materialized as a result, and that may not change going forward, as Slusser writes “it’s hard to imagine” the A’s giving Semien a contract worth that much more than Chavez’s. It seems a long-term accord for Chapman is the bigger priority for the team.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics To Reduce Jurickson Profar’s Role]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171196 2019-08-15T04:45:29Z 2019-08-15T04:45:29Z Second baseman Jurickson Profar rode the bench in favor of the just-promoted Corban Joseph for the Athletics’ victory over the Giants on Wednesday. It’s the beginning of a trend for Profar, who’s in for a “greatly reduced role,” Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Most of the switch-hitting Profar’s action will come against left-handed pitchers, Slusser explains, with the lefty-swinging Joseph and righty Chad Pinder set to eat into his playing time.

    A late-season reduction in at-bats for Profar isn’t what the Athletics had in mind when they acquired him last winter, especially now that they’re locked in a playoff race. The addition of Profar from Texas in a three-way trade that also included Tampa Bay cost Oakland standout reliever Emilio Pagan and infield/outfield prospect Eli White. It didn’t look like an unreasonable price to pay for Profar, a once-prized prospect who finally lived up to some of his past promise in 2018. After largely disappointing from 2012-17, Profar batted .254/.335/.458 (108 wRC+) with 20 home runs, 10 steals and 2.9 fWAR as a 25-year-old last season.

    The A’s likely expected more of the same from Profar this season, if not an even better performance. Instead, though, Profar has batted a miserable .205/.268/.382 (70 wRC+) through 395 PA. While Profar has swatted 15 homers and totaled seven more steals, his weak batting line and subpar reviews at second (minus-10 Defensive Runs Saved, minus-0.8 Ultimate Zone Rating), have limited him to a replacement-level impact in 2019. It may go down as the lone year with the Athletics for Profar. While he still has another season of arbitration control, in which Profar will hope to earn a raise over his current salary of $3.6MM, Slusser casts doubt on the possibility of him returning to the team in 2020.

    Regardless of what his future holds, Profar – to his credit – is taking his demotion in stride, as he told Slusser:  “I don’t feel like I’ve been contributing like I’m capable of, so I’m OK with it. I’ll just keep working and try to find it.”

    Profar’s troubles have come against righties, who have held him to a .177/.245/.372 line (compared to a solid .304/.353/.418 versus lefties). A deeper dive into Profar’s numbers does indicate some bad fortune has factored into his woes. Profar has typically run low batting averages on balls in play in his career, evidenced by his lifetime .257 BABIP, but this year’s .205 mark is way down even by his standards. Meanwhile, according to Statcast, his .302 expected weighted on-base average easily outpaces his .278 real wOBA. Profar also remains difficult to strike out, having done so at a 15.2 percent clip this year.

    Granted, those aren’t overwhelming positives, so the Athletics want to explore alternatives at the keystone. Manager Bob Melvin told Slusser the A’s aren’t “getting as much production as we want at that position, so maybe you look elsewhere.” That’ll lead them to Joseph, a 30-year-old with a mere 31 major league plate appearances under his belt.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Sign Matt Harvey]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171170 2019-08-15T03:19:12Z 2019-08-15T02:53:55Z 9:53pm: The club has indeed signed Harvey, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Harvey will report to Triple-A Las Vegas.

    9:17pm: The Athletics are closing in on a contract with free-agent right-hander Matt Harvey, according to Roster Roundup. It’ll be a minor league pact, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets.

    An agreement with the A’s means Harvey will continue in the American League West, where he pitched for the Angels this season before they released him three weeks ago. The former Mets star, 30, was among the Angels’ most notable signings last winter, when they handed him an $11MM guarantee. But the Halos’ version of Harvey performed like one of the worst starters in baseball, which forced the team to drop him.

    After reviving his career to some extent as a member of the Reds late last season, Harvey opened this year with a ghastly 7.09 ERA/6.35 FIP with 5.88 K/9 and 4.37 BB/9 across 59 2/3 innings and 12 starts. As you’d expect, he ranked near the bottom of the league in all of those categories. In the process, Harvey yielded home runs on a personal-worst 22.4 percent of fly balls, recorded the lowest average four-seam fastball velocity of his time in the majors (93.2 mph) and posted the second-weakest swinging-strike rate of his career (9.1). Hitters teed off on Harvey for a .372 weighted on-base average along the way, but according to Statcast’s expected wOBA metric (.390), he actually deserved worse.

    Needless to say, this has been a nightmarish campaign for Harvey. There’s little harm in the A’s taking a flier on him on a minors pact, though, especially considering the success they’ve recently had bringing in castoff starters on low-cost deals (Edwin Jackson, Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill spring to mind). And Harvey’s now back in the same organization as A’s executive Sandy Alderson, who was New York’s general manager during the hurler’s tenure there.

    Having dealt with significant injuries to Sean Manaea, Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk, Marco Estrada and Jharel Cotton – not to mention an 80-game suspension to emergent ace Frankie Montas – Oakland has been forced to make do with a patchwork rotation for the second straight year. The club somehow won 97 games and earned a wild-card berth last season, though, and has weathered its issues in 2019 to log a 68-52 record.

    Currently two games back of a wild-card spot, the Athletics have been aggressive in trying to upgrade their starting staff over the past few weeks. Prior to last month’s trade deadline, they acquired Tanner Roark from the Reds and Homer Bailey from the Royals. Those two are now part of a rotation that also includes Anderson, Mike Fiers and Chris Bassitt, while Manaea, Luzardo and perhaps even Harvey are among those who could also factor into the mix in the coming weeks.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Athletics Designate Beau Taylor]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171086 2019-08-14T17:56:38Z 2019-08-14T17:45:30Z The Athletics announced that they have designated catcher Beau Taylor for assignment. His 40-man spot was needed for the team to select the contract of Corban Joseph, as had previously been reported. Outfielder Nick Martini was optioned for active roster space.

    Taylor, 29, has spent his entire career with the Oakland organization since being taken in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. He has seen minimal action at the MLB level in each of the past two seasons. In 240 plate appearances at Triple-A in 2019, Taylor carries a strong .257/.408/.461 slash line with eight long balls.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Sean Manaea, Jesus Luzardo]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171042 2019-08-14T19:31:18Z 2019-08-14T03:03:44Z
  • Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea enjoyed an encouraging rehab start with Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday, Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle details. Manaea, out since last September after undergoing shoulder surgery, fired 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and totaled 10 strikeouts. He and fellow rehabbing lefty Jesus Luzardo seem that much closer to giving playoff-contending Oakland a couple much-needed pitching reinforcements. Luzardo, also out all season (because of shoulder and lat troubles), will start for Las Vegas on Thursday, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com tweets.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Athletics Release Jake Buchanan]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=171037 2019-08-14T02:11:08Z 2019-08-14T02:11:08Z
  • The Athletics have released righty Jake Buchanan, according to Kegan Lowe of Baseball America. The 29-year-old, who joined the Athletics on a minors pact last winter, struggled to a 6.16 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 99 1/3 innings with their Triple-A affiliate this season. The former Astro, Cub and Red last appeared in the majors in 2017.
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